There is one distinct court in our world that is unyielding, unforgiving, and relentless….the court of public opinion. It is here where swift and harsh judgments are handed out in knee-jerk fashion, as nameless and faceless people spew a barrage of personal indictments against those who are vulnerable and in a place of personal weakness and loss. There is something cruel that can happen to people as they let their fingers do the talking in our modern world of online communication. The entitlement that is apparently gained to speak one’s accusative mind in anonymity on every possible matter can be downright ugly. The online comment sections are breeding grounds. Mercy and restraint seem to be severely lacking, which is sad, as there are people with breaking hearts and real pain on the other side of every hurtful word.
God’s word is as true now as it has always been….‘Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…’ James 1:19.
Last week on January 15th, a beautiful and tender friend named Deedee had to say good-bye to her precious 17 month old granddaughter Amelia. Amelia’s life was cut short by the hands of her mother’s then boyfriend. The full details of the obvious abuse Amelia endured is only known by her abuser and the Lord God. To say that Deedee and all of her family are in agonizing pain does not do justice to the extent of their heartache. There are no fitting words to portray what the death of an infant child and grandchild does to the human heart and soul. I have spoken to Deedee and her tears come from a place that I do not know or comprehend. It is a wailing so deep that if not for the prevailing presence of the Lord God, such a loss would swallow up every hint of hope and light in her. Her daughter too is suffering horribly. They would give their very lives if they could somehow go back and change what happened, but they cannot. They must find the strength to go on living, to go on breathing…one moment at a time, one tear at a time. God will see them through.
I have prayed for this family’s protection and shelter in the Lord; specifically that He would shield them from the ugly accusations and words of hurtful rebuke that might come their way during this painful time. It was not long after this tragic incident that such words started to appear on venues like facebook, so I write this to encourage Deedee, her family, and any others who might have been verbally or emotionally attacked at their weakest and lowest point in life. There are indeed always those who feel obliged to kick a person when they are down.
Thankfully, God’s life changing word is the ultimate authority on all things and provides desperately needed refuge in such times. For example, in the book of John chapter 8 verses 1-11, an adulteress woman is brought before a large gathering in the midst of Jesus Christ himself. Her most blatant accusers were the scribes and Pharisees of the day. These were self righteous ‘leaders’ who deemed it fitting to have her tried and convicted for her weaknesses before a barrage of peers. They did not see the need for further evidence, or for any type of legal proceedings. The court of public humiliation and condemnation was their venue of choice. Yes, she was a broken woman who was far from perfect. The Bible says she was placed directly in the center of the ‘court’ where her flaws could be openly scrutinized. The leaders and crowd called for her public stoning to death, reminding Jesus that upholding their laws was paramount in such a situation. Their words were like piercing daggers.
But then came the most beautiful voice that has ever spoken on our earth. It was the one and only voice that mattered both then, and now. Jesus Christ spoke, the author of life, Emmanuel…God with us, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It was the voice of pure majesty and complete humility in one. He spoke then and He still speaks today… “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And with that, their taunts and clamor faded to silence as they each walked away, one by one. It is interesting to note that the Bible mentions that the oldest in the crowd were the first to withdraw. Wisdom indeed is gained through years.
We have a broken world full of stone throwers, and the weapon most readily utilized is the tongue. Our words can be as sharp as jagged rocks, and they can hit their target with cunning and sharp precision. Many shattered lives have been laid victim to the aftermath of verbal execution. And yet who of us can judge? Who of us is without fault or sin in our lives? We as human beings all have the same disease known as sin, and we all desperately need a savior to restore us to God. That savior is Jesus Christ. Jesus was not condoning or pardoning that woman’s sin; he was reminding the hardened crowd that they too were far from perfect and had no place standing in judgment of her. May that same mirror of reflection be cast on us all.
Jesus hit the nail on the head again in Matthew 7:3…Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
For my precious friend Deedee, her family, and all that have been hurt by harsh words of criticism; may you have ears to hear the voice of a loving and merciful Lord above all others. May His voice be the first one you turn to and may it guide you in all that you do. May His voice drown out the haters, the mockers, and the accusers who seek to destroy your journey to find the light of hope. In the darkest tempest of pain and suffering, there is always hope and it can be found when you listen for His voice. Shut out the rest. Turn off the computer if you have to, the smart phone, the device. Turn it off and open your Bible. Start listening to the voice of life. It will literally drown out the voices of hate and darkness. Choose what to listen to and embrace into your heart.
The world was ready to stone a broken woman to death for her poor choices, while Jesus Christ was ready to change her life for the better and restore her future. He is still in that business today!
Deedee and Starlene, may your hearts be humble and soft to all God wants to show you right now. He will convict and give wisdom in all that has happened with your angel Amelia. May you take that wisdom and be a profound light in Amelia’s honor. May you pour out counsel, wisdom, and understanding to others who will face the painful curse that is child abuse. He has a good and powerful purpose even in this tragic circumstance, and He will use your lives as a living testimony to the power of light over darkness. May His voice become your voice….the only voice.
Here is the stunning Amelia Danielle Gutierrez. Her life is now in paradise with her Lord, while her influence and legacy continue on in the lives of those who loved her. Look at that Grandma Deedee….pure and perfect love. It cannot and never will be tainted. Yes, love wins.Love you Deedee!!